The Best Rental Listing Sites for Home Seekers Today

When marketing a rental property, posting on one of the best rental listing sites can make all the difference in how much exposure the listing gets and how quickly potential tenants respond.

Best Overall

The Best Rental Listing Site Option: Apartments

Apartments.com

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Runner-Up

The Best Rental Listing Site Option: Zillow

Zillow

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Best for Quick Rentals

The Best Rental Listing Site Option: Zumper

Zumper

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Vacant properties don’t generate money, so it’s critical for landlords or property managers to market and fill vacancies as quickly as possible. In the digital age, rental listing sites get maximum exposure to attract potential renters. But which sites are the most effective at attracting and landing good tenants? Landlords and property managers will want to keep reading and discover the best rental listing sites available.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Apartments.com
  2. RUNNER-UP: Zillow
  3. BEST FOR QUICK RENTALS: Zumper
  4. BEST FOR LANDLORDS: Avail
  5. BEST SHORT-TERM: Airbnb
  6. ALSO CONSIDER: Craigslist
The Best Rental Listing Sites Options
Photo: depositphotos.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Rental Listing Sites

A property owner can have a gorgeous, affordable, well-kept property for rent, but if no one knows about the property, it will sit vacant for months—perhaps even longer. Choosing rental listing sites that don’t get a lot of traffic (or don’t get the right kind of traffic) can also mean a property won’t get filled promptly. The following are some essentials for property owners to keep in mind when selecting the best property rental website for their listing.

Cost to List

While many listing sites are free to use, a few may charge a small monthly fee or a fee per additional unit. A small fee may seem affordable, but these fees can add up the longer a listing is on the market. On the flip side, the fact that a site charges a fee doesn’t automatically make it superior. If a site has fees, property owners will want to consider whether the site has any unique features that free sites don’t offer that makes the cost worth it.

Listing Categories

Many of the best rental property websites will provide plenty of tags and categories to differentiate a customer’s property. Standard categories include the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and the rental price. Extra categories that can be helpful for potential tenants include amenities, lifestyle, affordability, and square footage. The more descriptors and features an owner can attribute to a property, the better. Built-in categories are more effective than an owner writing all of a property’s features in the description, too, because renters can filter by category to only look at locations and properties that fit their needs and wants. This saves both parties time and energy. If an owner accepts pets at their property but doesn’t (or can’t) include this information on the listing, then a renter looking for a pet-friendly property will likely not pay attention to the listing—even if it’s a perfect fit otherwise.

Some owners may feel that it’s a burden to add too much information to a listing or that they might limit their applicants. But when an owner is pressed for time to fill a vacancy, it’s beneficial to include details and be as transparent as possible. This will allow property owners to attract the most qualified applicants.

Application and Screening Tools

Another great thing about some of the best rental websites is that they offer tools for renters to submit rental applications and owners to screen applicants. Applicants can schedule a tour, fill out a rental application, and pay any application fees all from the same location online. Many sites also have built-in background and credit checks, meaning that the owner won’t have to go through a third party to complete these important steps.

Some sites offer credit reports instead of just credit checks. Credit reports have more in-depth information about an applicant’s open accounts, debts, and delinquencies, in addition to their credit score. Sites may also deliver an applicant’s eviction history or allow owners to request references. These additional reports can be helpful for a landlord who has a lot of similar applicants for one property, as these small details can make or break an application.

It’s crucial for an owner to get as much information on a potential tenant as they can. On a basic level, a thorough screening ensures that an applicant is able to afford the rent and make payments on time. But an owner is entrusting their property to a virtual stranger, and owners want to make sure that they’re leaving their property in responsible hands.

Additional Tools

Many rental listing websites will allow the user to list a property and accept applications. However, the best website for rentals may include additional tools to streamline an owner or property manager’s workflow. These may include taking rent payments, maintenance requests, and lease agreements or renewals. Rental listing sites that offer these additional tools make it easier for the owner or property manager and the tenant to interact using one platform from the listing stage until the tenant moves out.

Ease of Use

When trying to find the best renting website, the property owner will want to consider how easy it is to use from both an owner’s and a renter’s perspective. An owner wants to be able to add and manage listings efficiently on the back end, but if the site isn’t attractive or user-friendly on the front end, fewer renters will want to use the site. Also, owners who want to keep tabs on their listings from a smartphone will want to check whether the rental listing site has an app to help them more easily manage their rental business.

Our Top Picks

For property owners who have decided to manage their own properties, this experience can be easier when using the right rental listing sites. Below are some of the best rental listing sites of 2023 to use to attract qualified tenants.

Best Overall

Apartments.com

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  • Cost to list: Free
  • Listing categories: Price, beds, baths, lifestyle, amenities, affordability, square footage
  • Screening tools: Credit and background check
  • Additional tools: Lease signing, rent collection, tour scheduling, applications
  • Mobile app: iOS and Android

Pros

  • Free syndicated listings on five partner sites
  • Large selection of amenities tags for property listings
  • Pay-to-apply system increases likelihood of serious applicants
  • Rentals are free to list

Cons

  • App experience is not as user-friendly as website

Why It Made the Cut: Apartments.com attracts diverse, qualified renters to millions of properties using innovative tools and attractive marketing. Since its start in 1992, Apartments.com has developed a reputable platform for property owners and renters alike. Apartments.com charges renters a $24.99 fee that covers background and credit checks. Their pay-to-apply approach means that serious candidates are more likely to apply, resulting in property owners getting higher-quality applicants. It’s free for owners to list on the site, with the option to upgrade to a Premium listing, and there are many unique categories an owner can tag their property with, including lifestyle and affordability. Property owners can also screen applicants, sign leases, and collect rent through the platform. Apartments.com also syndicates listings across five partner sites for even more traffic and views. While Apartments.com does have a mobile app, users complain that it’s not as intuitive as the website. Despite this minor setback, this platform does an excellent job of getting quality candidates in front of property owners and filling vacancies promptly.

Runner-Up

Zillow

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  • Cost to list: First listing free, $9.99 per week for each additional listing
  • Listing categories: Price, beds, baths, home type, square footage, year built, amenities
  • Screening tools: Credit and background check
  • Additional tools: Rent collection, owner portal, pricing suggestions
  • Mobile app: iOS and Android

Pros

  • Relatively high site traffic and number of property listings
  • Free syndicated listings on partner sites Trulia and HotPads
  • Pricing suggestions help price rentals

Cons

  • Only one free listing; landlord pays $9.99 per week for each additional listing

Why It Made the Cut: Zillow is the most-visited real estate site in the United States and offers a seamless experience for both owners and renters alike with its easy-to-use tools. Zillow was founded in 2004 and has grown to be one of the most easily recognized real estate sites. Zillow is a high-traffic real estate website for buyers, sellers, and renters. For property owners looking to rent their property without the help of a property manager, Zillow makes the tenant management process straightforward. Zillow also has a pricing suggestion tool that gives property owners an idea of what they could rent their property for (though landlords can list their rental homes for whatever they wish). Zillow is partnered with Trulia and HotPads, and listings on Zillow are automatically syndicated to those other sites. Zillow is a one-stop shop for a property owner to conduct all tenant-related activities, including marketing the listing to potential tenants and receiving payments from current tenants. One disadvantage of the site is that it only provides one free listing; the landlord will pay a $9.99 fee per week for additional listings, so Zillow can cost more for owners if they have multiple properties or listings sitting on the website for an extended period. Other than this, it is a high-quality site that keeps improving and transforming the rental process.

Best for Quick Rentals

Zumper

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  • Cost to list: Free for 10 units or fewer
  • Listing categories: Rooms, price, amenities, neighborhood, property type
  • Screening tools: Credit report, background check, eviction history
  • Additional tools: Lease signing, rent collection, viewings, Instarent
  • Mobile app: iOS and Android

Pros

  • Ability to to fill vacancies within 24 hours
  • Landlords can tag properties by neighborhood for more specific search results
  • Free syndicated listings on Facebook Marketplace

Cons

  • Site receives only 15 million visitors per month

Why It Made the Cut: Landlords looking to rent their properties quickly will appreciate what Zumper has to offer through its fast, organized service. The internet makes everything go faster, and Zumper’s unique Instarent feature ensures that real estate keeps up. The Instarent feature allows landlords to fill vacancies within 24 hours, and it’s available in 10 major cities. Zumper also has features to search for short-term rentals along with standard leases, so owners and renters have more options when listing and searching, respectively. Although Zumper only reaches 15 million visitors per month, it offers free syndicated listings on Facebook Marketplace to expand the listing’s reach. Each listing can also be tagged by neighborhood to reach renters looking to live in specific areas. Overall, Zumper’s unique features and user-friendly interface helps property owners more easily fill vacancies for any kind of rental.

Best for Landlords

Avail

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  • Cost to list: Free or $5/unit per month
  • Listing categories: Move-in date, beds, baths, pets, parking
  • Screening tools: Credit report, background check, eviction history
  • Additional tools: Applications, lease signing, rent collection
  • Mobile app: No

Pros

  • Free syndicated listings on 12+ other sites
  • Platform has extensive tools designed to streamline property management tasks
  • Easy-to-share listings to social media

Cons

  • Listing inventory is relatively small

Why It Made the Cut: Avail offers several useful tools for landlords, including tenant screening services, application processing, lease signing, and rent collection. Unlike many competitors, Avail is primarily geared toward landlords rather than renters. This rental listing company understands how busy property owners are and provides a streamlined process for hands-on landlords. It provides screening tools such as credit reports and background checks and digs deeper to determine if potential tenants are on offender lists. These reports are included in the application fee, so landlords won’t have to pay extra. Although Avail’s listing inventory is relatively small, Avail also syndicates listings to more than 12 partner sites, including Realtor.com, Zumper, Redfin, and Apartments.com, and makes it easy for property owners to share listings on social media. Avail has plenty of resources online for landlords to track maintenance requests and analyze rental prices in the area. As a site made for landlords, Avail has many unique and valuable tools that other sites can’t offer.

Best Short-Term

Airbnb

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  • Cost to list: Free
  • Listing categories: Type of place, price, accessibility, amenities, facilities, house rules
  • Screening tools: ID verification
  • Additional tools: Smart pricing, host protection insurance
  • Mobile app: iOS and Android

Pros

  • Ideal for short-term or vacation properties thanks to flexible booking dates
  • Over 6 million listings drive heavy traffic to site
  • Owners can set house policies and use them to screen guests

Cons

  • Not all municipalities or homeowners associations allow owners to list on Airbnb

Why It Made the Cut: Airbnb is the modern approach to vacationing and makes many types of properties available to those seeking short-term housing. Property owners who aren’t interested in taking on long-term leases with tenants may want to consider becoming an Airbnb host. With more than 6 million listings, Airbnb caters to those who need a place to stay while traveling but don’t want to stay in a hotel (or those who need a place to stay temporarily and don’t want to sign a 12-month lease). Since guests are staying in an actual home or apartment, Airbnb provides a comfortable experience and may allow several travelers to stay in one place throughout their vacation. Airbnb provides a safe process for property owners, verifying profiles and listings ensuring legitimacy end-to-end. Property owners can also acquire protection insurance for their homes and valuables. Screening, payment, and communication all take place on the app or website, so everything is conveniently located on one platform. Not all cities or homeowners associations allow owners to rent out their properties on Airbnb, so this site may not be a viable option for all owners. But for locations where it’s permissible, Airbnb can be an excellent alternative to being a full-time landlord. Owners can set their own house policies to suit their needs and can screen guests before approving a rental request, giving them additional peace of mind that the guests will leave their property as they found it.

Also Consider

Craigslist

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  • Cost to list: Free
  • Listing categories: Price, beds, baths, square footage, availability
  • Screening tools: None
  • Additional tools: None
  • Mobile app: iOS and Android

Pros

  • Relatively high site traffic and number of property listings
  • Streamlined site is easy to navigate

Cons

  • A large applicant pool makes it difficult to sift through and vet applicants
  • Listings can easily be taken over by scammers
  • Challenging to contact customer service

Why It Made the Cut: Craigslist is one of the most popular websites for selling and exchanging goods, and it also helps quickly match property owners with tenants using a traditional classified ad approach. Craigslist offers various options for people to purchase and sell items—including property. With billions of views per month, it’s an excellent source for generating interest for a rental property. That large amount of traffic can also be detrimental, as scammers can take over listings fairly easily and legitimate users may find it hard to contact customer support to report any issues. However, despite this, renters find the site user-friendly as it automatically selects a location based on where a user is located when visiting the website, so renters can easily see what properties are available in their area. In addition, the site is streamlined, simple to use, and easy to navigate, which makes it popular with both tenants and landlords alike. While Craigslist is a great place to list a property, there’s no built-in screening or vetting process, which can allow unqualified applicants to slip through. To navigate this problem, property owners will have to do their best to write credible listings and provide a safe experience for renters throughout the process. Property owners will have to sift through applications looking for legitimate tenants and removing those applications that raise red flags. But with the amount of traffic that Craigslist receives, it might be worth it for an owner to include their listings on the site.

Our Verdict

After reviewing dozens of the best rental listing sites online, we concluded that Apartments.com was the best choice, with Zillow being a close runner-up. Both had many great features about them, but Apartments.com won us over because landlords can list their properties for free. We also liked that Apartments.com has many categories to choose from and syndicates listings across five of its partner sites. Apartments.com also charges a fee for applicants, which means it could attract more serious, qualified candidates. Zillow also has excellent features, including the tenant management dashboard and pricing suggestion tool.

How We Chose the Best Rental Listing Sites

Although the competition was tough, we narrowed the list of the best rental listing sites to the six included in this review. These choices are among the more popular rental listing sites and receive high monthly traffic, offering listings exposure to a variety of qualified candidates. Many of our picks also offer valuable tools like screening, lease signing, and rent collection that provide a seamless experience. These sites are also easy to use and navigate, so landlords don’t have to spend more time than necessary creating and managing listings.

Before You Choose One of the Best Rental Listing Sites

Before posting a listing online, it’s important for a property owner to collate a property’s defining details. For instance, if the property is affordable housing, near a university, or strictly for seniors, a property owner will need to include these things in the listing. A landlord will also want to consider the time of year they’re posting a listing. In some situations, a property will need to be filled immediately, but the best time to get the most money for a property is in the summertime. It’s considered peak renting season, and competition from potential tenants is high.

A few other essential tips to keep in mind include taking quality photos, creating a catchy title to attract tenants, and ensuring the property description on the listing site is updated. For example, if new floors or appliances have been installed, this could be a great selling point for some tenants. Even highlighting what’s near the property, such as restaurants or grocery stores, can also pique potential tenants’ interest.

Cost of Using One of the Best Rental Listing Sites

Many of the best rental listing sites are free, but some aren’t. For instance, Zillow provides the first listing for free and then charges $9.99 for each additional listing per week. These fees can mount up if the listing stays on the market for some time. But Zillow also receives a lot of traffic, so paying the extra fee for a short time may be a much better option for property owners than letting a property remain vacant for several months. If a website charges a fee, the listing agent or property manager will want to evaluate what they will get for that fee and whether a free website can deliver the same results.

The Advantages of Using One of the Best Rental Listing Sites

Some property owners may start seeking tenants by reaching out to existing tenants to get exposure or asking friends if they know someone who needs a place to live. These methods can return some leads, but word-of-mouth marketing has its limitations—primarily that an individual’s social circle can only extend so far.

Using one of the best rental listing sites allows property owners to get the maximum exposure necessary to rent out their vacant or soon-to-be vacant property without the effort or limitations of reaching out personally. Rental sites can also provide a platform for organizing the entire rental process, from posting listings to accepting rent. The following are some other significant advantages of using one of the best rental listing sites.

  • Property owners can reach more renters than by other marketing methods.
  • Communication is quicker and more efficient.
  • Property owners can list on multiple sites for maximum exposure.

FAQs

Filling a vacancy can be an arduous process, but the best rent websites can expedite the process. The following are some answers to frequently asked questions about the rental process.

Q: What is the best website to rent a room?

To rent out a room, the best websites are Zumper, Airbnb, and Craigslist. These sites all have features specifically for renting out single rooms of a house. Airbnb is specifically for short-term or vacation rentals, including single rooms, and Zumper has a feature to search for short-term rentals as well as single rooms.

Q: What website has the most rental listings?

Zillow has the most rental listings and receives the most web traffic.

Q: Is Zillow free to list a rental?

When posting on Zillow, the first listing is free. However, each additional listing is currently $9.99 per listing per week.

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Mel Childs

Contributing Writer

Mel Childs is an author, freelance writer, and screenwriter who owns and operates her own writing company in metro Atlanta. She writes stories for BobVila.com on various topics ranging from chimney cleaning to property management companies. In addition, she has been a freelance writer for 2 years, writing on a variety of topics including history, entrepreneurs, entertainment, the medical industry, and of course, home improvement.

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